Tonight at Noon

Tonight at Noon, Charles Mingus (released 1965)

‘Tonight at Noon’ opens with a storm-blast of Arabian, African and Sub-continental rhythms and sounds that are interwoven with European instrumentation that includes an absolute bedlam of Bebop. This partly explains why it feels like Mingus is just mucking (us) around. But it also feels like the white-cover of American life has been ripped away to reveal seething diversity and conflict.

The rest of the album is a carefully assembled collection of material recorded for ‘The Clown’ and ‘Oh Yeah’. However, nothing can live up to the absorbing crypto-chaos of the introductory piece; the next four tracks are simply good standard Mingus rather than howling genius.